Enduring Mystery of San Bernardino Shooting and Inconsistencies in Official Narrative

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A California Highway Patrol officer stands with his weapon as authorities pursued the suspects in a shooting that occurred at the Inland Regional Center on Dec. 2, 2015 in San Bernardino, California. PHOTO: SEAN M. HAFFEY/GETTY IMAGES
A California Highway Patrol officer stands with his weapon as authorities pursued the suspects in a shooting that occurred at the Inland Regional Center on Dec. 2, 2015 in San Bernardino, California.
PHOTO: SEAN M. HAFFEY/GETTY IMAGES

Instead of obsessing over when and who radicalized Tafsheen Malik and Syed Farook, the couple allegedly involved in the California shootings earlier this month, the media would do well to pay attention to the glaring inconsistencies and shifting official narrative   

Binte Farid | Special to Caravan Daily

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he mystery over the San Bernardino shootings earlier this month has deepened further with the investigation throwing up more questions than answers. Meanwhile, FBI Director James Comey has said that there is no evidence to suggest the couple, Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27, who allegedly killed 14 people in California this month, were part of a terrorist cell.  The police and FBI are scratching beneath the surface, trying hard in their hysteric frenzy to pin down evidence that the alleged shooters were already radicalized.

However, there are several contradictory details that simply do not fit into the official narrative.  While the FBI’s (Federal Bureau of Investigation) narrative itself has several contradictions, perplexing inconsistencies can be traced between the official statements, media reportings and eyewitness accounts and other sources that have put the integrity of the official story in doubt. Self-contradictory stories are emerging on a daily basis and they will be dealt accordingly. Let us re-evaluate the eyewitness accounts and closed sources:

WHAT DID THE COUPLE’S ATTORNEY SAY?

The interview of the attorney David Chelsey representing the family of the couple is particularly critical o analyze the story and can be viewed on CNN at the given link.  He has rejected the official narrative calling it implausible, “There’s a lot of disconnects, and there’s a lot of unknowns, and a lot of things that quite frankly don’t add up or seem implausible…Everyone is clueless.”

He talked of the handcuffed bodies of the couple when they were found, Malik’s 90-pound weight and incapability of carrying assault rifles as well as their lack of requisite skills and background training required to carry out such a military precision attack which is described by both witnesses and the investigators.  We’ll discuss various aspects of the interview  under relevant headings.

The family attorney stops short of dismissing the official narrative as fabricated.  “By all accounts, Farook’s family is cooperating fully in the investigation,” he further maintains.

As expected, nobody further invited this attorney in their morning shows and nobody attempted to analyze the facts further, let alone go into his doubts.

The two suspects from the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California an undated Student ID card photo from California State University, Fullerton, shows Syed Farook and a photo released by the FBI on shows a picture of Tashfeen Malik. — AFP
The two suspects from the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California an undated Student ID card photo from California State University, Fullerton, shows Syed Farook and a photo released by the FBI on shows a picture of Tashfeen Malik. — AFP

THREE WHITE SHOOTERS INSTEAD OF A COUPLE?

The other most neglected eye witness is Sally Abdelmageed, who works at Inland Medical Center where the attack took place. Talking to CBS News, she clearly mentioned about three tall athletic shooters with skin tone looking white.  Her statement can be seen in the CBS video on the given link and the transcript of the full interview is available at the end.

Another witness is Juan Hernandez. he confirmed. “three white men in military fatigue

Security expert Michael McCann, former chief of security for the United Nations, told CBS2 the same day, “The fact that there are three people; they were well prepared; they were well equipped with the guns they were carrying..”

Notably, the shooters escaped shortly before the police arrived. Both police and media said they were looking for “three white males.”

The question is how and when the story changed from “three male shooters with tall athletic built” to a radicalized married Muslim couple?  But the mainstream media seems to have utterly forgotten this issue in favor of the official narrative of California police.

WHICH TIP DID THE OFFICERS FOLLOW? 

According to the official narrative, authorities followed a tip to a home on Center Street in Redlands. As the officers approached, the suspects seemed to flee in a dark SUV.

Four hours after the shooting, law enforcement officials announced two suspects — Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27 — had been killed in a police shootout several miles from the site of the original attack. Noticeably, no passport were conveniently found as had been the case after 9/11 and the recent Paris attacks and no identity card like in the Charlie Hebdo attacks was found here either.

Nobody in the media has to date tried to figure out from where the officers got this tip that made them finally determine the identity of the suspects without any trial.

Similarly, nobody raised the question who rented the SUV– just three days prior to the incident.

Asked about the third suspect, Jarrod Burguan, San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod replied, “Right now, as we continue to drill down our information, it looks like we have two shooters. We are comfortable that the two shooters that went into the building are the two shooters that are deceased.”

As usual, the local media was obsessed with the police narrative and   didn’t attempt to scratch beneath the surface.

WHY WERE THE BODIES HANDCUFFED? 

The most astonishing claim made by the couple’s attorney Chelsey was about the bodies: “Where the couple was found, from what I understand, is that they were handcuffed, lying face-down in this truck, shot up.”

Remarkably, police did not deny Chelsey’s extraordinary astounding claim. What does it signify?

WHY DIDN’T HE USE THE BOMBS?

According to the police, three bombs taped together – had been left behind at the scene of the shooting. The bomb was linked to a device found in Farook’s rented car. Why did he not make use of the bombs instead of bringing her 90-pound baby-feeding wife with assault rifles and a fashionable shooter’s gear?

We don’t yet know why the bomb mysteriously failed to go off?  Or was this plotted to spark further sensation and terrorize the people? To make them fall for the “terror” story as most terrorists do not fire; they use bombs.

Meanwhile, the media has been busy screaming, as usual, quoting the so-called experts and their hysterical Islamophobic rhetoric.  All their attention has been focused only on debating when and how the couple was radicalized so they simply had no time to discuss conspiracy theories.

DID THE SUSPECTED COUPLE HAVE REQUISITE SKILLS?

Whenever there is a terrorist attack, those responsible seem extremely well organized, professionals, well trained and carry out their plans with military-like precision. But the San Bernardino shooters seemed to be an exception with none of them demonstrating skills or precision.

“Witnesses and investigators have both described a terrorist onslaught carried out with military precision by suspects who were trained and capable. Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, didn’t appear to have the necessary background and skill set,” insisted Chelsey.

“She was never involved in [any] shooting.” said Chelsey again in hard tone.”

Nobody had seen Malik practice shooting, not even the next door neighbor who witnessed many family activities in last six months.

But these facts do not seem to matter much. The fact that Farook visited Saudi Arabia twice and Malik came from Pakistan seemed to be enough for “jihadist training”.

Muslim mourners hold candles and a sign reading 'Prayers and Love' during a candlelight vigil for mass shooting victims in San Bernardino, California, USA, 03 December 2015. EPA
Muslim mourners hold candles and a sign reading ‘Prayers and Love’ during a candlelight vigil for mass shooting victims in San Bernardino, California, USA, 03 December 2015. EPA

CAN A 90-POUND WOMAN CARRY AN ASSAULT RIFLE? 

The statement of the couple’s attorney David S. Chelsey is particularly important about Malik when he said, “She was only about ninety pounds, so it’s unlikely she could even carry a weapon, or wear some type of a vest, or do any of this.”

How could a ninety-pound mother of a six-month child have carried the assault guns and extra ammunition and still shoot with military precision? The media seems to have forgotten obvious ground realities in their frenzy against the so-called radical Islam.

WHY DID THE COUPLE THROW THEIR CELL PHONES NEAR SHOOTING SITE?

According to CNN, the couple had discarded their cell phones in a trash bin near the crime scene. Citing unnamed “authorities,” the network said that this suggested that the couple “was trying to hide their tracks, and make it impossible for investigators to see what was on their cell phones.

On the contrary, if this part of the story is true, this serves to provide a solid proof to police. This is in fact, the same as Syrian passport that the terrorists left behind in Paris as “proof.” The media is not concerned how and why stupid/suicidal the deceased shooters were.

WHY  NOBODY DENIED  CARLY FIORINA STATEMENT THAT RIFLES WERE PURCHASED BY POLICE?

The next day, December 3, Carly Fiorina, a 2016 GOP presidential candidate talking to MSNBC’s morning Joe show revealed that “ATF believes that someone purchased these guns on behalf of the police department.

The video of the interview is still available at the link above and Fiorina’s distinct remarks can be caught at exactly 5:10 in a 5:35-minute long duration video.

Remarkably police or ATF did not deny her statement. None of the reporters from this channel or any other channel representing the mainstream media talked about these remarks at all.

WHY PURCHASER OF GUN HAS NOT BEEN CHARGED?

Now come to the murkiest segment of the official narrative and as expected neglected by the media. One week after the shooting incident police readjusted their investigations. According to police story, a Latino, Enrique Marquez had in fact purchased the assault rifles used in the shooting and he had deep ties with Syed Rizwan Farook.

Marquez is a Muslim convert. He had embraced Islam five or six years back, but he had not changed his name as usually all converts do probably because the shy friend of Farook did not like to be identified as a terrorist.

Quite interestingly, Marquez has not been charged by the police for any offense although he confessed to not only producing pipe bombs with Farouk but plotting terror attacks in 2012.

In the CNN footage, Marquez is happily smiling as if attending a buddy party.  Either he is crazy or the police which is not charging a person who purchased guns for the terrorist but media doesn’t mind either.

He also told investigators about a 2012 attack plot that he and Farook had allegedly conceived but did not carry out, U.S. officials told CNN. He reportedly said that he and Farook were on the path to radicalization as early as 2011. That same year, Marquez bought the first of two rifles apparently for Farook.

He is by far the only person who stated that Farook was already radicalized. But the official account becomes very murky when they couldn’t have charged such a terrorist who plotted attacks three years back.

Sounds logical? How can they charge a person who is cooperating so much in proving their story true?

According to CNN, FBI assistant director David Bowdich was tight-lipped when asked about his status in the investigation at a news conference earlier this week. “I’m not prepared to discuss Mr. Marquez at this point,” Bowdich said.

In fact the poor chap had no idea how he can defend the FBI over the issue of not charging Marquez.

WHY ISN’T THERE ANY TRACE ON SOCIAL MEDIA?

Police and FBI worked hard to collect evidence from around the world to verify their relationships to extremist jihadist organizations. As this report was being finalized, FBI announced that the San Bernardino shooters did not post support for jihad on social media.

The Atlantic magazine meanwhile reported that FBI Director James Comey said “So far in this investigation, we have found no evidence of posting on social media by either of them …. reflecting their commitment to jihad and to martyrdom,”

It is astounding as according to Marquez, Farook was radicalized since 2011, but he was so careful that he did not leave any trace on social media and although he was impressed by ISIS ideology he did not try to contact the death cult.

DID SOMEONE SAY COUPLE WAS RADICALIZED?

CNN dedicated a page for San Bernardino shooting and one heading on that page says “shooters supported ISIS,” father says. CNN reported this citing an Italian newspaper.

Over the weekend, Farook’s father told an Italian newspaper that his son supported ISIS,’ ideology of establishing an Islamic caliphate. 

Does CNN always follow the same journalistic standards of quoting other news paper’s reporting without solid proofs? Later CNN reported the father could not recall making this statement. If he really spoke to the Italian newspaper it should have its recording and they must have shared it with CNN.  It could be dubbed and run with subtitles but CNN simply did not do that to authenticate his footage.

What father actually said in a CNN video is that my son was a devout Muslim and he was conservative. Does being devout and conservative make him radicalized?

Saying that Farook was a devout Muslim, he had a beard face or he had visited Saudi Arabia doesn’t make him or his wife a radicalized terrorist.

The fact is that no one, who knew the couple, thought they were radicalized including the workplace colleagues, next door neighbors, landlord, mother, brother or even the shootout victims and deceased victims’ families. Everybody has denied they had noticed anything strange.

Interestingly, statement by Farook’s mother has not been publicized. Why? Because she is not ready to be defensive like others and has refused to give any statement which proves her a terrorist’s mother! Probably they could not edit and twist her account as they did with the statements of his sister Saira Farhan, his father and brother-in-law to match the official narrative.  Farook’s older brother Syed Raheel Farook who has worked for the US Navy and has earned two medals for his services in the war on terror has clearly stated that the couple was not radicalized. There is no footage available for Raheel Farook.

DOES A VISIT TO SAUDI ARABIA MAKE SOMEONE A RADICAL?

Earlier, media announced that father had said he is a devout Muslim and he was obsessed with Israel.  He had a bearded face and he went to Saudi Arabia twice as a proof of his radical behavior.

Almost all practicing Muslims who can afford, visit Saudi Arabia as an obligation and many find solace in Makkah and Medina for spiritual reasons. Does it make them terrorists? Being a devout Muslim who attends mosque regularly can identify someone as extremist.

DOES DISAGREEMENT WITH THE IDEOLOGY OF ISRAEL MAKE YOU A TERRORIST?

There are millions of peaceful Muslims and Christians in the US even the Jews and the children of Holocaust survivors who do not agree with the ideology of Israel.  Are all of them radical?

His brother, who lived nearby, was in the Navy. The neighbor said they were a happy couple. Workplace colleagues said he was living an American dream life. How can anyone radicalize without being noticed?

According to BBC, in Pakistan, journalist Shehzad Malik interviewed Malik’s class fellows at Bahauddin Zakariya University in order to find out the radicalization roots. The class fellow said, “It’s totally unbelievable for us to think that the Tafsheen Malik we knew can kill anyone”

Journalists also reached her teachers at the university in Multan and School in Riyadh. All interviewed Teachers testified that she was a top class student with no indications of radicalization.

Then it was announced she attended a radical Madrassa Al-Huda. Al-Huda is indeed a moderate Islamic madrassa whose founder Farhat Hashmi is a well-respected scholar of international fame with branches in Canada, America, and Britain. She herself has a doctorate from the UK. In fact, some Islamic organizations accuse her of avoiding the word Jihad in her teachings.

Now, here again, the attorney’s statement is significantly important when he says everyone is clueless, “We sat with the FBI for three hours, and they tried to identify some characteristics or some affiliations that he might have had that have led him to act in this way, and they were totally stumped, totally frustrated.”

WHAT THE NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOURS SAID ABOUT FAROOK’s FAMILY?

One other significantly relevant source is the couple’s next door neighbor Annie Larson, who shared a backyard fence with them for the past six months and was a close witness of Farook’s family activities. She repeatedly denied any unusual activity and said the couple was leading a perfectly normal and happy life with Farook’s mother and baby. She also noticed Farouk’s activities in his garage and mentioned he often left his garage door open.

Someone as close as next door neighbor did not notice anything abnormal and has recorded her witness in a definite tone. Yet our innocent media was still obsessed with sensational tales of long-term terrorist planning and making bombs in the same garage.

WILL ANY TERRORIST LEAVE HIS AMMUNITION STUFFED GARAGE DOOR OPEN?

A large amount of ammunition, pipe bombs, etc., were found in their townhouse’s garage. The garage was in a building separate from their home. Larson, the next door neighbor who shared the backyard fence with the suspected couple, said he was always working on cars, sometimes leaving the garage door open. How can one leave a garage door open if the garage is stuffed with pipe bombs and ammunition? Larson says she did not notice anything particular. They seemed happy and excited about their baby. I would see him smiling.

The list of contradictions similar to the above is not exhaustive and more dramatic stories are emerging on a daily basis that do not gel with the police and FBI narratives.

Don’t these glaring inconsistencies suggest the naive and simple couple has been used as patsies in a brazen string of operations with objective much larger than the fate of a small American family? Doesn’t it look like another case of extrajudicial killings in a country where police kill three unarmed citizens daily on an average without any conviction and trial?

Muslims around the world have been defensive from the start, dutifully accepting the official narrative. A massive, orchestrated trial by media forces everyone to believe that the couple were indeed the actual shooters. Instead of focusing on when and who radicalized Tafsheen Malik and Syed Farook, the media would do well to try to find out answers to the above questions.

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All opinions and views expressed in columns and blogs and comments by readers are those of individual writers and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Caravan Daily

 

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